Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday's "Forgotten" Books - The Bill Donovan Mysteries

Even Michael Jahn, author of the Bill Donovan mysteries, seemed to let the books slip away from him for years at a time while he worked on other projects. But, some of us never forgot those gritty New York mysteries.

In 1982, Jahn introduced NYPD detective Bill Donovan in Night Rituals. Donovan was a cop on the way down in that first book, filled with rage left over from the murder of his father. He had a mysterious past, and was torn between two women, a Cuban-American barmaid, and a multiracial undercover cop. In Night Rituals, Donovan talks Marcie, the cop, into acting as a decoy in the hunt for a psycho killer.

Jahn's mysteries came along in five year intervals for a while, so it's no wonder readers forgot about them. Death Games came out in 1987, City of God in 1992, and, so on until there were ten books in the series. Donovan & Son, the tenth book, came out in 2008, celebrating twenty-five years of the
series. In Donovan & Son, Bill Donovan is a respected, famous NYPD detective, just retired to devote his life to his son, who is paralyzed, and in a wheelchair. Old friends return from previous books, as the father and son become involved in a murder investigation.

I remember these books as gritty depictions of New York City, but stories that also show a love of the city. And, Donovan. Despite his rough beginnings, he had loyal friends who stuck by him. He changes, grows in the course of the series. Bill Donovan is a detective worth finding.


pattinase (abbott) said...

SO sad that someone who was obviously a very fine writer just fell off the map. I guess this is why publishers like the book a year.

Randy Johnson said...

These sound interesting and I was completely unaware he wrote this sort of thing. In those long ago days before internet, I read some of his tie-in work, but had no way then of knowing anything else about him. Thanks!

Lesa said...

It is, Patti. And, I'm sure with his other writing for TV, he had other projects. But, I do think people forgot about his books.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Randy. I thought some of those Donovan books were fantastic. And, I was finding them on B&N, so I'm sure you can still get a hold of the books.

Michael Jahn said...

Thanks for the kind and insightful thoughts, guys. You know more about me than I do myself. (the infrequency of books coming out is because I had to support a family, and couldn't do it on book income. Any, I have lots of loyal readers and love them all.

I can't believe you guys remember the tie-ins! :-)

take care

michael jahn

Lesa said...

Thank you, Michael. And, thank you for all of the Donovan books. I really did enjoy them.